Penn State-Iowa Football: A Trap Game in Iowa City?
Let's take stock of the two opponents in the 3:30 p.m. tilt at Iowa on Saturday.
The Penn State Nittany Lions, one of the best teams in the nation based off of its undefeated record, No. 3 ranking, statistics, and performances. Won close games against Purdue, Ohio State, and Illinois. Beat Purdue by 14, Ohio State by seven, and Illinois by 14.
The Iowa Hawkeyes, a middle of the road Big Ten team. Lost close games to Michigan State, Illinois, Pittsburgh, and Northwestern. Lost to Michigan State by three, Illinois by three, Pittsburgh by one, and Northwestern by five.
Penn State is 9-0 overall and 4-0 on the road. Iowa, meanwhile, is 5-4 overall, but 4-1 at home. Penn State's closest game, against Ohio State, was on the road. Iowa's biggest margin of victory, against Maine, was at home.
Could this game possibly be an upset in Kinnick Stadium?
Now, even though the people on Big 10 Tonight claimed that Kinnick was the hardest place to play in the Big 10, it is not.
The hardest place to play is Beaver Stadium, with the best student section in the country, and a home game there is the "greatest show in college football." Its record crowd is over 110,000, and average attendance is close to 107,000 or 108,000. Beaver Stadium is followed closely by the Horseshoe, where the Buckeyes have lost four games in the past eight years. Its record attendance is over 105,000, and it usually seats about 100,000.
Back to the game.
Iowa features star running back Shonn Greene. He has 198 carries for 1,257 yards, which is over six yards per carry. He also has 11 rushing touchdowns, his longest being a 52-yarder.
Iowa's receiving corps is led by wide receivers Andy Brodell and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and tight end Brandon Myers. Each of these three players have over 20 receptions.
Brodell has 27 receptions for over 450 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson-Koulianos has 26 receptions for over 300 yards and one touchdown. Myers has 22 receptions for over 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Penn State features dual-threat quarterback Daryll Clark, who is 126-of-200 passing for over 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions. Clark has also rushed 55 times for nearly 230 yards has eight rushing touchdowns.
Penn State's running game, besides Clark, is led by a dynamic thunder and lightning duo.
The thunder, Evan Royster, is the main back who is powerful and agile. He has 135 carries for 970 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. He averages over seven yards per carry.
The lightning, Stephfon Green, has ran the ball 73 times for 434 yards, which is nearly six yards per carry. He has four rushing touchdowns, which are mostly long runs in which he breaks through the front seven and speeds through the secondary.
Penn State's receiving corps is led by the trio of seniors Derrick Williams, Deon Butler, and Jordan Norwood. I don't even need individual stats to describe how good they are.
Combined, they have over 10 total touchdowns, over 1,000 receiving yards, and over 85 catches. They also have touches from rushing, returning, and sometimes even passing. They are all great receivers and all-around players, but Derrick Williams is the best all-around player.
Now for the prediction.
Penn State is a great team. Its offense averages over 40 points per game and its defense allows just over 10 points per game. Iowa scores just under 30 points per game and gives up over 13 points per game.
The Lions, however, have played better teams and better offenses than Iowa. Penn State has faced better defenses than the Hawkeyes. I expect the Lions to come out a little rusty after a bye, but they will start to come alive towards the end of the first quarter.
Their defense will hold up and I believe it will give up no more than 14 points in this game, and that's at most. Penn State's offense will score in many ways against this Iowa defense, and the home field won't be much of a factor after PSU gets the lead.
Penn State will show why it is arguably the best team in the nation. It will completely dominate this game.
Penn State 48, Iowa 10
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